Lip reading refers to interpreting the movement of lips to understand spoken words without hearing the words. The practice is often used by individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired. The best method of learning to read lips is to practice with a mature speaker. If you already know someone who will sit with you and speak without sound, lip reading can easily be learned for free. Televisions with subtitling are also a good place to learn for free, although not as effective if the actors do not face the camera.
Start lessons by watching lip movement in everyday conversation. Note the way lips purse when "you," "no," "don't" and "won't" are spoken. Remember that many words require similar lip shapes -- therefore, interpretation must be assessed in the context of what else is said.
Sit face-to-face with a friend or partner. Ask your partner to speak words without using her voice. Practice interpreting what the individual is saying. Expect giggles as misunderstandings occur. Note the way your partner's face lights up and darkens depending on what she is saying. Identify eyebrow movements and head tilts as well. These clues will help you associate lip movements with the context of what is being said.
Practice watching your own lips as you speak before a mirror. Understand that how you shape your lips when you speak affects the way you talk. Individuals have individual manners of speaking, which is influenced by the way they move their lips. If you move your lips tightly when you speak, lip readers will have a difficult time understanding you. Likewise, you will not be able to lip-read speakers who do not clearly enunciate their words.
Silence your television and turn on the subtitles. Attempt to read the speakers' lips for practice and verify your reading against the subtitles. Television newscasts are the best programs for practicing basic lip reading, however, programs where characters and participants move around frequently and do not face the camera regularly can allow you to advance your lip reading for similar situations in life.
Kristin Jennifer began writing professionally in 2010, with her work appearing on eHow. She has five years of experience working as an immigration specialist in Houston and New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from Barnard College.